WILLIAMSPORT -- Speaking with families affected by the opioid crisis, President Donald Trump declared the opioid epidemic a National Public Health Emergency. He called for this generation to be the one to end the epidemic.
A few hours earlier, and about 200 miles away, lawmakers and private citizens in Williamsport discussed the same thing.
"It's the biggest health problem that we've had probably in the state," Senator Gene Yaw said.
State Senator Gene Yaw presided over the forum, which was held by the Center for Rural Pennsylvania. When asked about Trump's declaration, Yaw believes it is needed. He believes it will bring more recognition to the magnitude of the opioid crisis. Others agree.
"I think it enhances the dialog, not only on a national level but here in Pennsylvania," Steve Shope said.
Steve Shope is the executive director of Project Bald Eagle, which provides information and help on the heroin epidemic in Central Pennsylvania. He believes, on a local level, we need more resources and more funding.
"That's where it's going to make a difference, so I hope that's his intent," Shope said.
Additional funding would be used for education.
"We really need to have a focus on young people so they understand the hazards of drug use," Gary Tuggle said.
"We need to start in elementary school. We need a program for middle school and one for high school," Yaw said.
A public health emergency does not provide additional funding, it relies on existing funds to be redirected. Malcolm Barlow still has some concerns.
"I'm more worried about the future. This opioid epidemic is a real worry for parents and grandparents," Malcolm Barlow said.